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Unacceptable security risks leave thousands without care

Somalia / 02.09.2008

"Médecins Sans Frontières continues to provide essential healthcare to the Somali people in Mogadishu and throughout central and southern Somalia, as they face increasing levels of suffering. However, in the case of our clinic in the Wardigley/Hodan area of Mogadishu we have sadly been forced to cease our activities. Despite huge medical needs, the rise in violence in the area has led to an unacceptable risk to our patients and dedicated staff."

Médecins Sans Frontières has been forced to cease medical activities in one of its clinics, based in the Wardigley/Hodan area of Mogadishu, due to increased fighting which has led to unacceptable security risks for patients and staff. The clinic delivered essential health care services to children under 12 years of age and expecting mothers.  The closure comes following a further deterioration of the situation in the area where the clinic is located.

“The fighting around the clinic has significantly increased; several mortars have landed very close by and recently a rocket-propelled grenade actually entered the top floor of our building but thankfully did not detonate”, said Marcel Langenbach, Head of the Emergency Team.

Prior to closure, the clinic provided an average of 300 out-patient consultations a day and cared for around 35 in-patients on a regular basis.  Between January and June 2008, Médecins Sans Frontières staff carried out 33,206 outpatient consultations, primarily for respiratory and urinary tract infections and acute watery diarrhoea. More than 4,000 women received ante-natal consultations and 637 people were admitted to the inpatient department. The numbers speak for themselves and the need to assist people is clear, yet to continue under the current circumstances is impossible.  

Despite this closure, Médecins Sans Frontières continues to deliver vital health care services in and around Mogadishu and throughout Central and Southern Somalia.  Further, we continue to seek new ways to deliver much needed medical aid to the people of Somalia, in-spite of the rising insecurity.  In order to do so it is imperative that all parties continue to respect Médecins Sans Frontières' neutrality and independence. 

Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in Somalia for more than 17 years. The organisation currently runs 11 projects in nine regions of south central Somalia.


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